Shillong, Sep 19: In another embarrassing cancellation for the organisers of the Shillong Premier League, today’s big encounter between Rangdajied United and Shillong Lajong was called off for reasons that differ based on who you speak to.

Officially, the Shillong Sports Association (SSA) said that there is an issue with some of the floodlights on the river side of the stadium and that Friday’s match will probably be held in natural light with the time to be decided tomorrow.

However, as TSR stood on the road outside we heard that it wasn’t that some lights weren’t working or anything like that. It had more to do with the referees feeling that the floodlights are not bright enough and one cited players’ safety and being able to make the right decisions during the game as the reason for not willing to officiate.

Another SSA member scoffed at the idea that players’ safety could be the problem, saying “When no player has complained who are the referees to complain?”

The floodlights at the SSA Stadium were installed last season. As was supposed to be the case this year, the matches from second leg onwards were played under lights there. The lights are arranged on six short pillars and, according to TSR, they are just not good enough.

The lights are dim (making it extremely difficult to take a decent photograph of the action) and the pillars are arranged between the stands and the pitch, which partly obstructs the spectators’ view of the ground.

This season we’ve spotted on several occasions players and referees shielding their eyes when there’s an aerial ball, which suggests that the floodlight pillars aren’t high enough.

Besides the disappointment the fans must’ve felt, a coach of a team not involved today said that such late cancellations (the game was called off around 30 minutes before kick-off) left the clubs in the lurch in terms of the expense to bring their players to the ground, etc.

This is the second straight Lajong match that has had to be postponed. Their game against Malki on 14th September was called off because of heavy rain. In the first leg a match between Meghalaya Police and Malki on 20th August had to be abandoned after the ball boys didn’t turn up.

On Friday Meghalaya Police will take on Nangkiew Irat. Timing to be confirmed.

(TSR photo)

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